Stocks held firm in mid-morning trade led by sustained buying demand in index heavyweights ITC, Infosys and HDFC. At 11:25 IST, the barometer index, the S&P BSE Sensex, was up 303.27 points or 0.91% at 33,610.41. The Nifty 50 index was up 95.20 points or 0.93% at 10,322.05. Positive Asian stocks boosted sentiment on the domestic stocks. Shares of cigarette maker ITC gained after cigarette cess was kept unchanged at GST Council meet. Capital goods stocks rose. Realty stocks saw mixed trend.
Trading for the week began on a firm note as the key benchmark indices saw a gap-up opening triggered by positive Asian stocks. Key benchmark indices extended early gains and hit fresh intraday high in morning trade.
The market breadth, indicating the overall health of the market, was positive. On the BSE, 1,296 shares rose and 1,077 shares fell. A total of 146 shares were unchanged.
Overseas, Asian stocks edged higher as trade-war concerns took a backseat to economic optimism following a US jobs report Friday, 9 March 2018 that showed the American economy continued to strengthen without the prior month's rapid wage gains that stoked inflation fears.
In US, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed back above 25,000 and the Nasdaq Composite Index ended at a record on Friday, 9 March 2018 as Wall Street appeared to shake off worries about tariffs on steel and aluminum to focus on an unexpectedly strong jobs report. Shares also got a boost from news that US President Donald Trump accepted an invitation to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, which followed a narrower-than-expected tariff plan from the White House Thursday, 8 March 2018 that eased speculation of a trade war.
In economic data, the US created 313,000 new jobs in February, the biggest gain since mid-2016 and a reflection of the strongest labor market in two decades. The unemployment rate held at 4.1%, the fifth straight month at that level. The subdued rise in wage growth for the month helped to ease worries about runaway inflation.
Back home, index heavyweight and cigarette major ITC jumped 2.91% to Rs 266.95 after the government kept cess on cigarettes unchanged at its GST Council meeting on Saturday, 10 March 2018. It was the top gainer from the Sensex pack.
Capital goods stocks rose. Siemens (up 1.01%), ABB India (up 0.53%), Bharat Electronics (up 0.4%), Punj Lloyd (up 0.85%) and Thermax (up 0.43%) rose. Bharat Heavy Electricals (Bhel) (down 0.06%) and BEML (down 1.36%) fell.
Engineering & construction major L&T rose 1.04% after the company said its construction division has secured orders valued at Rs 2597 crore. The announcement was made during market hours today, 12 March 2018.
Realty stocks saw mixed trend. DLF (up 1.4%), Indiabulls Real Estate (up 1.05%), D B Realty (up 3.37%), Godrej Properties (up 0.53%) and Oberoi Realty (up 1.38%) rose. Housing Development and Infrastructure (down 1.54%), Unitech (down 2.06%), Sobha (down 0.97%) and Prestige Estates Projects (down 0.18%) fell.
Man Infraconstruction rose 1.86% after the company said it received orders worth Rs 220.75 crore from Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) for construction of 2,376 residential units within the jurisdiction of PCMC under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna (PMAY) Housing scheme. PMAY is a programme by the Government of India to ensure "Housing for all by 2022". The announcement was made during trading hours today, 12 March 2018.
Aarti Drugs lost 4.12% after the company announced that one of its units has been adversely affected due to massive explosion in adjoining Unit E - 107 of Novaphene Specialties situated at Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC), Tarapur. The assessment of damages is under process. The aforesaid unit contributed 16% of total revenue from operations of the company for the period ended 31 December 2017. The announcement was made after market hours on Friday, 9 March 2018.
On the macro front, the government will after market hours today, 12 March 2018 announce inflation data based on consumer price index (CPI) for February 2018. Consumer prices in India increased 5.07% year-on-year in January 2018, below 5.21% in December 2017.
Industrial production data for January 2018 will also be released after market hours today, 12 March 2018. India's industrial production rose by 7.1% year-on-year in December 2017, following an upwardly revised 8.8% gain in the previous month.
Meanwhile, sending a strong positive signal to the exporting community, the GST Council in its 26th meeting held on Saturday, 10 March 2018 decided to extend the available tax exemptions on imported goods for a further six months beyond 31 March 2018. Thus, exporters presently availing various export promotion schemes can now continue to avail such exemptions on their imports upto 1 October 2018, by which time an e-Wallet scheme is expected to be in place to continue the benefits in future.
In a related development which would benefit the exporters, the Council reviewed the progress in grant of refunds to exports of both IGST and Input Tax Credit. The Council appreciated that the pace of grant of IGST refund has picked up. Thereafter, the Council directed GSTN to expeditiously forward the balance refund claims to the Customs/Central GST/State GST authorities, as the case may be, for their immediate sanction and disbursal.
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